It looks like the comeback trail for Cody Hodgson will go through Nashville, as the former 1st round pick signed a 1-year, $1 million deal, only days after being bought out in Buffalo. Hodgson's career trajectory is going in the wrong way, so he is in desperate need of a quick reboot and with the Predators, there is a chance that he could find some ice-time with some talent, but then again, at only $1 million, he could be fodder for the AHL as well.
Last season, Hodgson had 6 goals and 13 points in 78 games with the Sabres.
Again, from the buyout column, the Toronto Maple Leafs are taking a flyer on PA Parenteau, only a few days after he was bought out by their rival club in Montreal. Parenteau has never really seen the same kind of success that brought him out East from Colorado, a couple of seasons ago, but he should still be able to provide the Leafs some quality minutes along the wing. With the changes already happening in Toronto, there should be some openings in key positions, perfect for a guy in need of bouncing back.
How about a blast from the past? After playing the last two seasons in the KHL, it was decided that Alex Burmistrov would return to the NHL, signing again with the Winnipeg Jets, a 2-year deal, worth $3.1 million. His best season in the NHL was a 28-point effort in 2012 and his efforts in Russia were decent, so he might be ready to be a pool worthy player in 2016. The Jets will be an interesting team, so if Burmistrov can fit into that lineup, he could be a good sleeper pick.
A kid to keep an eye on in the 2016 season will be Boston forward Ryan Spooner, who finished the season with the big club, playing in 29 games, scoring 8 goals and 18 points in that time. His scoring rate was very respectable, given the short span that he played and with the Bruins' cap problems, his new deal with a low cap hit of $950,000, will be beneficial to the team going forward. If you're struggling for forwards at the end of the draft, have a peek at Spooner.
The rebuilding Maple Leafs were busy on Wednesday, as they also added forward Mark Arcobello to the roster, signing him to a 1-year, $1.1 million deal. Arcobello was a pretty good player on a number of teams last season, but will now join a club that will need his services all year round. But being as though this Leafs franchise is in rebuilding mode, I can't see the points being very plentiful at this point, so I've dropped Arcobello down from pool worthy to fringe, someone to still consider, but don't jump for joy, if you get him in the draft.
This post is quickly being dominated by the Maple Leafs, as they were stocking up on some hard working talent on opening day of the free agent frenzy. Being added to their list was Daniel Winnik, who signed with the club last Summer, but was moved to Pittsburgh at the trade deadline. Obviously, the team liked what they saw out of the grinding forward, so they brought him back for another turn, this time for a couple of years. Between Toronto and Pittsburgh, Winnik was good for 9 goals and 34 points, but my complete lack of faith in the side will likely drop his projections slightly.
There has been a definite decline in Shawn Horcoff's offensive output over the years, as he'll go down for a couple years, have a small spike up, then down again and last year was a slight spike again in Dallas. Well, the Ducks are hoping for a bigger spike, as they have signed the veteran centre to a 1-year, $1.75 million deal, looking for a big bargain in this off-season. The Ducks have definitely shaken up their roster already this Summer, but the jury is still out on whether or not it is for the better yet.
The early projections on Horcoff are going to be lower again, as he lines up as the team's 3rd centre on the depth chart and he'll likely be employed more in a checking role. A definite fringe player.